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Design thinking

Design thinking is a framework used by many UX, UI, and product designers during large-scale projects. It has five recurring steps and follows a user-centered approach during multiple iterations.

Updated on November 13th, 2022


Why is it called design thinking?

Design thinking is a keyword coined by Tim Brown. He wrote about it in the Harvard Business Review in 2008. In his essay, he claims that thinking like a designer can significantly benefit companies.

Instead of only involving designers close to the release of a product, he proposes to include them earlier in projects. This is what UX designers try to do today. Tim Brown believes that companies that think like designers are the only ones able to create innovative new products.

What are the benefits of a design thinking strategy?

As a business, using a design thinking strategy can greatly benefit your products and services.

When done right, design thinking helps you better understand what your users want. You can then design your products in a way that actually helps them get what they want.

The result is a happy customer that keeps using your product. They might even recommend you to their friends, which in turn helps you get more users and increase revenue.

Another benefit of design thinking is that it is inexpensive and quick to set up. Designers can use prototypes and workshops to create a concept and test its validity quickly.

You can do a design thinking project much faster than developing and testing the same concept in a testing or production environment. Design thinking saves you a lot of money.

The five stages of design thinking

Although Tim Brown started design thinking with only three stages, modern design thinking is most often considered to have five stages. These are empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test.

As a designer, you can go back and forth between these stages during multiple iterations. In practice, however, most companies allow designers to do one cycle of the previous steps.

When working on an Agile or Scrum project, UX designers can often work ahead of the current sprint to complete a design thinking project. As a result, the development team can implement the design once it becomes a part of the next sprint.

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Useful resources

Design Thinking - Harvard Business Review



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